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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 18 December, 2014

2012: a year in political pictures

Protests in Europe, an election in the US and another austerity budget in Ireland. Here is the political year that was, in photos.

WE HAD A Presidential Election in the US, more debt crisis wrangling in Europe and a change of leadership in China, as well as continuing struggles in the Middle East and the Arab world.

And that was just outside of Ireland. At home, we had our sixth austerity budget, a referendum on children’s rights and (finally) the Mahon Tribunal report. Plus, the 20th anniversary of the X Case and the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar triggered demonstrations about the country’s abortion laws.

Politics-wise, 2012 was a busy year. Let’s take a look at the images that tell the stories.

Life wasn’t always a cup of tea for Enda Kenny this year. But he did have some victories, including one big one in Europe when Angela Merkel conceded that ‘Ireland is a special case’. And, of course, there was THAT magazine cover. (Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire)

The Taoiseach’s finance man Michael Noonan was a constant in Brussels this year for talks, discussions and then some more negotiations about Europe’s debt crisis. Despite a number of delays and setbacks, he remains confident that a deal to break the vicious circle of Ireland’s sovereign and banking debt will be reached before 2014. Luckily, he is said to be highly regarded by his counterparts in Europe, as shown here as he chats with Finland’s Jutta Urpilainen. (Image: AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

It took 15 years but the Mahon Tribunal finally published its final report in March this year. And, boy, was the fallout big. Although Bertie Ahern continues to insist that he did nothing wrong and told the truth, he was forced to resign from Fianna Fáil, a move he described as emotionally wrenching. (Image of artwork in Temple Bar, Dublin by Will St Leger on 24 March/Julien Behal/PA Wire)

There was another damning report published across the water this year. Lord Justice Leveson stuck to his timeline though, reporting on the first part of his investigation into the culture, practice and ethics of the British press within a year. Following the report, Prime Minister David Cameron is pushing for newspaper editors to set up an independent regulatory body. (Image: AP Photo/Sang Tan)

Towards the end of the year, violent scenes in Belfast over a decision to restrict the flying of the Union flag outside Cith Hall have dampened what was a positive year for Irish-British relations. This poignant image shows the laurel wreath, laid by Enda Kenny on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Ireland, at Enniskillen’s war memorial to remember the 11 people killed in an IRA bomb 25 years ago. It was the first time that both the Taoiseach and Tánaiste took part in Remembrance Day services in Northern Ireland. (Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire)

This island’s troubles may be a thing of the past but conflict continues to ravage Syria. In this 8 March photo, Ahmed mourns his father Abdulaziz Abu Ahmed Khrer, who was killed by an army sniper, during his funeral in Idlib. For more image of Syria’s civil war, click here. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File)

There has been no international consensus on how to act on Syria’s almost all-out civil war with the US reluctant to intervene in any way, despite the thousands of deaths of civilians being reported by humanitarian agencies. Washington was slow to commit for a number of reasons with the main one being 2012 was an election year. Barack Obama did not want to go into a vote after sending his army to another war-torn, unstable country. The Republican Party already had enough amunition against him, as outlined here by Clint Eastwood during their National Convention. Unfortunately, he just told an empty chair (and the Internet went crazy). (Image: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Romney ate a lot of ‘ordinary people’ food. such as pizza and pancakes, during his campaign to try and step away from his billionaire tycoon image. They are all his grandkids, by the way. (Image: AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Romney’s campaign was a mixed bag of gaaffes and unexpected triumphs. But his overseas trip, which included a stop in the UK, was one big bout of foot-in-mouth disease. (Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)

Obama did his share of pizza-eating too. Here, he is greeted by Scott Van Duzer,  owner of Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant during an unannounced stop in Florida on 9 September. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama eventually went on to win a second term in officer. This was not him during Romney’s concession phone call. It was the President realising he dialed the wrong number while making calls from an Orlando campaign field office during a unscheduled visit on 28 October. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

There was a change of leadership in China, with the country’s Communist Party unveiling a new seven-man ruling council steered by Xi Jinping. A day previously, on 14 November, 1,260 students attended a handwriting and painting contest to mark the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Haining, Zhejiang Province of China. (Image: ChinaFotoPress)

Waves of protests broke out across the Middle East and spread across the globe after an anti-Muslim film was uploaded to YouTube. Here, a number of Libyans burn the US flag on 14 September. (Image: AP Photo / Mohammad Hannon, File)

The protests over the film were initially blamed for the death of US Ambassador in Libya Chris Stevens. However, days later the White House conceded that the killings were an act of terror by al-Qaeda. Romney was criticised by Obama for using the tragedy as a political football. The presidential candidates made comments about the attack while campaining in Florida. (Image: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Back home, we had our own protests. Hundreds of people took to the streets of Dublin in the hours after Brendan Howlin and Michael Noonan announced the 2013 Budget. (Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire)

The most controversial measure of that Budget was a €300 cut in the Respite Care Grant. (Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire)

Anti-austerity protests on the Continent during the year often got more violent than the demonstrations seen sporadically in Dublin. Here, a young girl is pulled by a police officer as she and others are evicted from Puerta del Sol plaza in Madrid, Spain on 13 May.  (AP Photo/Alberto Di Lolli)

One of the most powerful protests though was carried out by employees from the Telefonica phone company while executives from the same company met in Barcelona on 21 November. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

He’s probably the happiest politician in the world this year. Mayor of London Boris Johnson saw his city pull off the Greatest Games Ever this summer. Although he did get stuck on a zipline so maybe that evened out his year.

If you think we missed something, you might find it here (in our most striking pics of the year) or here (in our pics that made us cry in 2012).

MORE: The 45 images that made us cry this year

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